There is nothing more frustrating for the individual wanting to represent themselves in connection with a NJ traffic or criminal municipal court matter then spending countless hours on the phone trying to get a simple answer. In many instances, and depending on the location, court employees may not pick up the phone, will not return phone calls, will not answer letters, etc. Sometimes the phone numbers they provide do not even work.
I understand how frustrating this could be. When I first started practicing law, I encountered many similar difficulties. Even now, I sometimes still have issues reaching court administration in certain jurisdictions. But as time has gone on, I have amassed a rather extensive list that allows me to more efficiently navigate the bureaucracy which saves me time, and saves my clients money.
Unfortunately, it pays to hire an attorney simply because he/she may have an extensive knowledge of the jurisdiction in which your traffic or criminal matter is pending. This can assure that there are no mishaps, like a missed court dates, mistaken issuance of warrants, inadvertent administrative license suspensions, decline of adjournment and reschedule requests, improper filing of discovery request and motions, etc.
Quite honestly, sometimes the administrative end of it can account for 90 percent of the case. This poses a huge problem for many pro se defendants with cases pending in poorly run jurisdictions. The time that it could take the self represented to properly enter a not guilty plea, schedule a court date, reschedule a court date, set a matter down for trial, etc., is really astonishing. This time is in addition to that needed to research and prepare your own defense.
I think of it this way. Sometimes you go out to dinner and you are paying for things that either you can’t prepare yourself, or that would take hours upon hours to prepare, plus the costs of material, if you did it yourself. And then there is the very real possibility that your could royally screw it up.
Hiring an experienced New Jersey Lawyer for an ordinary, or not so ordinary, municipal court matter, such as a traffic or criminal charge, frequently saves you more than you realize. A good lawyer will save your time, you resources, and your money. Most importantly, you will not have the almost certain stress and aggravation of attempting to deal with the matter yourself. This is because we have all the tools in our kitchen already.
Even more reason to consider hired help is that there could be a plethora of unforeseen consequences that result when you represent yourself and do not fully understand the true consequences of the plea you enter into or the downside of going to trial. Such consequences could include MVC suspensions, surcharges, insurance premiums, points, jail., etc.
This is just something to consider. Before you decide to take on the case by yourself, take a few minutes to speak with a lawyer.